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Foundation Exceptional Merit Grant, POSIT Programs Support Student Research Opportunities

Tasha VincentTasha Vincent, a junior studying Pre-Pharmacy at Ferris State University spent the 2019 Summer semester doing research, supported by the Pharmacy-Optometry Scholars In Training program. Vincent studied Molecular Interactions Between Organic Molecules, and made a presentation in a symposium on campus Thursday, Aug. 22.

Research into organic materials and consumer products were just some of the pursuits made possible during Ferris State University’s Summer 2019 semester, thanks to institutional funding resources.

A program developed by the College of Arts, Sciences and Education, POSIT or Pharmacy/Optometry Scholars in Training was established in 2017. During the program’s recently completed third year, Tasha Vincent, a junior from Traverse City, worked with Daniel Adsmond, a professor who specializes in Organic Chemistry. Their study focused on molecular interactions between organic molecules.

“Dr. Adsmond just poured a great deal of information and opportunity my way,” Vincent said. “It was a fantastic experience that allowed me to structure my work, in terms of the hours I spent in the laboratory and the direction of our research effort.”

Vincent’s studies coincided with the Student Research Fellowships overseen by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. She offered the findings from her research on Thursday, Aug. 22, at a symposium hosted by the ORSP and the Office of the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

“I found great value in this opportunity to stand before a research board and demonstrate what I had learned,” Vincent said. “It has really cemented my direction in terms of my aspirations and career goals. While I have a few classes yet to take to complete my Associate of Applied Sciences in Pre-Pharmacy, I intend to go on and get my Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. I feel I can gain satisfaction and make a good living as a researcher in that field.”

Another resource to support student research is the Exceptional Merit Grant, which is vetted and distributed by The Ferris Foundation. Assistant Professor of Optometry Jamie Brady received one of seven awards, in 2019, and worked with Michigan College of Optometry students Laura Keller, of Royal Oak, and Lindsay Lewis, of Oxford.

“We made orders with 11 online vendors, and acquired 35 pair of glasses with progressive lenses,” Brady said. “These bifocal lenses with no lines are the hardest to fit, so we had certain perceptions of how well such products might apply to a patient’s needs. It was a great project, and we were able to make our acquisitions and stay within our grant budget.”

Brady was the essential constant for their study of these spectacles ordered online, as each purchase matched his prescription.

“We assessed the product quality and their application in response to critical measurements,” Brady said. “Some distributors had creative ways to try and meet the need. We are in the final stages of our review and believe the information about such products will be valuable offerings when they are published or presented at professional conferences for the optical industry.”

Research into the development of virtual reality-based instruction at Ferris was another of the six Exceptional Merit Grant studies funded in the most recent application cycle.

The Ferris Foundation made 20 Opportunity Scholarship awards to students from across the state of Michigan, to advance learning and limit student debt.